A Modern Take on Halloween Decor

Becky Owens

Happy Halloween!!  Wait no…we still have time as Halloween isn’t for a few more weeks!  So if you still need to get in the spirit of this haunting holiday but find yourself having a hard time finding inspiration, or maybe just want some more modern ideas for Halloween decor, look no further as I have you covered.  I have put together a collection of modern and tasteful ideas for you to pull inspiration from and get those creative and/or festive juices flowing.  So cue Pandora’s Halloween station and let’s get ready to usher in this spooky holiday.

Let’s dissect these modern mantles and why they work.  I think the biggest reason they feel more modern and tasteful is a neutral color palette.  It doesn’t have more than a few colors used throughout the space which feels more purposeful and planned.  When you have too many colors used (say more than 3) it can become overwhelming and start to look a little too tacky and “thrown” together.  Another reason these mantles work is the use of natural organic materials that you will see in the latter two pictures above.  They have twigs of varying heights and sizes which bring a natural element to the design.  Pumpkins are another great natural element that’s a must when styling a Halloween mantle.  Bonus: natural twig pumpkin + pumpkins of varying color and sizes= harmony.

Cotton and Chaos

Front porch decor can be a tricky one to get just right.  First, you need to decide if you are inspired to scare “you know what” out of children or are you more partial to having a chic and stylish front porch that welcomes the kiddos to the front door.  Now don’t get me wrong, I like a good scare as much as anybody…however I LOVE a perfectly non-perfect styled porch if that makes any sense??  A more natural (natural meaning using natural elements such as twigs and pumpkins) placed on the front porch in almost a haphazard kind of way just seems to come together in a very pleasing way.  Incorporating a few faux birds or paper crafted bats is such a great way to still take it to that “creepy” level.  And can I just mention how cool the second front porch’s door pictured above is!?  I mean using a rolled vintage-inspired parchment paper with a skeleton head printed on it…what a unique and innovative wreath.

Speaking of wreaths… look at these amazing wreaths that are trendy without screaming too busy!  Something soft and whimsical in the first picture above.  This wreath is so striking with the beautiful black door as a backdrop, it just seems meant to be.   The second picture totally nails it as once again…wait for it… it has a natural feel and element of twigs that just fit so well with modern decor.  What gives the wreath all the scary Halloween feels is the matte black hue of the twig wreath.

Painting your pumpkins, or using alternative media to decorate with gives a fresh new flare to pumpkins for Halloween.  Plus do I even need to say it??  NO MESS!!  Yes, please!!  Let’s face it unless you are a skilled carver, those pumpkins that are carved up and scooped out never look good and create such a mess.  Not to mention they rot much quicker rather than the painted pumpkins which have longer longevity.

Glass domes or cloches aren’t just for your fancy and glamorous Christmas displays.  You can place a black candle or pumpkin inside along with some Halloween faux florals and viola!!  You have a super glam Halloween display!

I hope that I have encouraged you to get in the “spirit” of this spooktacular holiday.  Leaving you today with a few more Halloween photos to inspire more modern displays throughout your home this year.  Keeping in theme, you will find natural elements of florals and twigs throughout the photos above.  So many of these ideas don’t require much but a few twigs and such from your own yard.  You can easily create a stylish Halloween home just by scaling back on the decor, using a neutral color palette while incorporating natural elements.  And if you feel you want to add a little more game to your style…so many of these ideas can be DIY, such as the black-painted twigs bundled together at the base with black burlap.  Those would make such a great centerpiece for your Halloween feast!

 

I hope everyone has a bootiful day!

xoxo

Jen

 

Style Advice To Live By

Apartment Therapy

Today I want to share with you all some style advice that I live by.  This advice is so grounding and inspirational that its pretty much my daily mantra when styling and designing homes.  It can encourage you to design a space that is purely you and for your functional needs.  So lets breakdown some amazing thoughts and opinions that may help you with your next design adventure.

source unknown

Make a true expression of yourself.  Keep it natural and “lived-in”, orderly chaos as I like to call it.  Designing a space in your home that is functional for what you need it to be functional for.  If you need a dining room that serves as a den or library, then design around that idea.  Placing bookshelves along the walls that surround your dining table with a possible arm/reading chair paired with a good lamp in the corner, now you have designed a space that works for you.  A space with orderly chaos meaning that everything has a purpose and serves a function, everything put away in its place to allow you a multifunctional room.  Reminding yourself this: Design Success is being confident in your choices.  When you feel confident that you have designed a room that works for you and style around that, you have successfully designed that said room.

source unknown

 

Let it go.  No, we are not singing the hit from the film Frozen, (this song will forever be burned into my memory) however, it is important to know that your home will never “be done”.  In a true sense, it never has to be.  Style evolves and so will your home in due time.  When we can enjoy the process and view it as an ongoing project, great things can happen.  If you can remember anything from this post remember this:  Your home isn’t about the items, it is more about the space you designed to share with your loved ones.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, just perfect for you.

 

A few painting tricks: Well now that we are done giving some “preachy” yet calming and inspirational advice, let’s move on to a few tips that may be useful for you when you are designing a space.  Like I have mentioned a few times (like in the title of this post, etc.) these are truly some top-notch solutions that will work you through some tough designs woes.  First off, let me point out the painted window trim in the above pictures.  This is a great trick that allows you to negate the need for window treatments.  The pictures show stunning windows that are so remarkable on their own, you wouldn’t dream of putting up any window treatments.  If you did… the whole look of the room would change and you would have a very different room altogether. In fact, I believe this is the way to go when designing a very open and airy space.  A minimal space.

Ceilings with character:  Whether it’s rustic beams or treating a ceiling for a subtle surprise that feels comfortable,  this technique can have a huge design impact.  You can paint ceilings a different color than your walls or even with a pattern that all packs a punch.  For an illumination effect, try painting ceilings with a high gloss which can improve lighting in rooms that don’t have any natural light.

Lissi Walker

Complimentary colors: or opposing forces can give your home a sense of push and pull.  Making sure the value (also known as vividness or brightness) is similar.  Doing so can really pull together a cohesive style.  Simply remember color theory and pick three or so complementary colors, then start to design and pull your room together piece by piece and step by step.  Look at the example above, red and green are complementary to each other (being careful to not cross the Christmas threshold).  The red and green colors used in this bedroom are of the same value.  Then mixing in different shades of green, like the patterned wallpaper, and different shades of red like the pink throw placed on the bed.  Those tones are more subdued in value.  Perfectly balanced.

instagram.com/howwelive_official

Color Palette Pal: is exactly what it means a pal, a buddy, a pair.  Having pieces throughout the room that speak to each other and help the eye move through the space is a good rule of thumb.  A pal can be items throughout the room in the same hue but can vary in value.  An example would be the pink fury pillow placed on the bed, who is pals with the pink fringed lampshade.  The green quilt is pals with the green pillows, green wall and even the greenery of the plant beside the nightstand.

The Design Network

Patterns: can and should be used.  Just remember that you want to use different patterns throughout the room keeping in the same tones as your color palette.  Also be sure to use different scales of patterns, using some large and small.  Pictured above is the perfect example of using patterns in the same color scheme and differentiating scales.  The color scheme is all within a black, white/cream and gray combo.  The rug displays the largest pattern of all trailing off to the smallest pattern on the pillow placed on the cream sofa.  Both of these said patterns are very similar in shape just different in size and scale.  The blue velvet sofa has some very playful patterns on the pillows staying within the black, white and gray combo.  Then mixing in some solid colors to balance everything out, such as the sofas, and few solid pillows. P.s. notice the color buddies? The blue sofa is pals with the light blue lamp?

Well, there you have it.  My go-to advice with some tips that are tried and true!  Design doesn’t haven’t to be difficult, it can be a very fun, exhilarating, and enjoyable process if you follow a few of these steps.  Most of all remember that you are designing for you and what you want the room to be and feel like for you.  I hope this information can help and as always please reach out with any questions or remarks.

I hope everyone has a great day today!  Make it amazing!!

xoxo

Jen

 

 

 

 

Painting Tile Back Splash Do’s and Don’ts

Today we are talking about painting your backsplash.  Is it a good idea?  Is it going to hold up? Will it look ok?  So many questions and no real guarantees that it will be what you envisioned.  Well for me and the case of my kitchen I decided to give it a try and be the test run for you all.  I really don’t like our current kitchen for so many reasons.   The layout is cramped, the colors are wrong, the list goes on and on…  We will eventually get around to gutting our kitchen and actually swapping our current dining room for our new and improved kitchen.  This will be a much better flow throughout the home as well as within the kitchen.  Our current kitchen will actually then turn into our dining room.  But this is a huge project and we aren’t quite ready to take this on financially and mentally, (not to mention physically).  So, for now, I thought why not try painting the backsplash to match my current decor and color palette.  I told myself “it can’t hurt and if it is terrible it will eventually be demo dust anyway”.  So let me share with you my do’s and don’ts from someone who has ventured down this road and has answers for you.  First, let me share with you a before picture of my kitchen…

My initial reaction to this kitchen when we bought this house in Boise, was dark and cramped.  The cabinets are great quality and there is so much of them which is great for storage.  Now while I can’t do anything about the cramped problem, I did try to brighten up the kitchen a bit just by painting the backsplash.  While painting the cabinets a lighter shade would have helped the kitchen feel more open and bright, I didn’t want to spend the time and money doing this as I said this will all be demolished in the near future.  After reading so many articles and blogs about painting backsplashes, then taking a dry run painting my fireplace and bathroom tile, (read those articles here and here) I thought I was ready and prepared to take on the kitchen tile. 

The majority of my kitchen backsplash is actually a stone backsplash.  So to get started, first and foremost be sure to thoroughly clean your backsplash before beginning.  If you are painting a kitchen backsplash be sure to pay special attention to grease stains and food buildup.  In keeping with my knowledge learned from painting my stone fireplace, I stayed with the latex paint, a nappy roller and polyester paintbrush.  I painted the grout lines first along with the outline of the backsplash, letting that coat dry before I applied a second coat in the same places.  Once the second coat has dried I applied my first roller coat everywhere, getting as close to the counter and cupboards that my roller would allow.  Doing this keeps the texture uniform throughout the backsplash.  I let this coat dry and applied my second roller coat in the same manner.  I am very happy with the look I achieved.  Painting the stone backsplash a white hue (AIabaster, Sherwin Williams) made a huge improvement in the brightness department.  However, after living with this backsplash for a few months now, I can say I wish I would have applied a bonding paint primer first.  The paint would have adhered more cohesively and the durability overall would have been better.  I didn’t apply the bonding primer first before I painted my stone fireplace and bathroom backsplash (same stone backsplash) and those areas have held up great.  Something about kitchen backsplashes that take a beating and mine definitely has.  Nothing a few touch-ups cant fix.  But if I were to do it again I would definitely apply the bonding primer.

Now onto my small decorative backsplash behind the stove.  I knew this would be a whole new beast to tackle as it is a glass backsplash and not stone.  This means it is less porous which will make the paint have a harder time adhering as well as any clean up (which will be a lot as it is right behind the stove) difficult.  So the items used to accomplish this monster are as follows:

Start off by cleaning and cleaning and then scrub some more.  This area can have a lot of grease build-up.  If you don’t clean the grease off, the bonding primer will not adhere and you will see your stains more clearly after painted then you did beforehand.  Second I scuffed up the glass tile a bit with 80 grit sandpaper.  This is just an extra step to ensure good application.  Third I applied the bonding primer, and let me just say this bonding primer is the bomb!!  Thanks to my local Lowe’s paint experts I found the secret to a good paint application on difficult areas.  I applied the primer around the outline of the area first, applying two coats letting each coat dry before applying the next.

After the outline has dried I applied the first overall coat with a polyester paintbrush.  Letting the first coat dry then appling the second coat and letting the area dry for two hours before applying my latex paint.  I applied my latex paint in the same manner as the primer.  I let this dry for two more hours before I felt the area was totally dry.

It has been a huge improvement in our kitchen and really brightened up the space I spend a lot of time in.  While not my dream kitchen I am very happy with the cheap and quick upgrade.  That’s the best part, the cost was minimal as you don’t need much paint for such a small project.  Small project+minimal cost=huge improvement!!  If you find yourself in the same conundrum and need a quick and fast upgrade/refresh I am fully in support of painting your backsplash.  So if you have a couple of hours to spare give it a try and I know you will love the outcome as much as I do.

I hope this article helps and if you have any questions please feel free to reach out and comment.  I have done this trial and error so let me help you to not make the same mistakes.  Even better if you have done this before and have a good before and after please share as my all-time favorite is a good before and after.

Have a terrific Tuesday!!

xoxo

Jen

 

Six tips designers use to style an autumn porch

photo cred: startathomedecor.com

Pumpkin spice and everything nice Autumn is finally here!!  For a few weeks, my IG feed has been sprouting with fall/seasonal decor that I just wasn’t ready to embrace quite yet.  The biggest reason was that it was downright too hot here in Boise to think of warm spiced beverages, cozy flannel, and pumpkin everything.  With the “unofficial” end of summer celebrations last weekend, I am finally ready to jump in headfirst to the world of Autumn!!  Who doesn’t love the fall foliage in all those brilliant rich colors?  Not to mention the crisp mornings that allow you to cozy up with some flannel and pumpkin spice.  Autumn is here and it is here to stay, so why not usher the season in and create a porch vignette that just screams AUTUMN!  I wanted to share with you six tips designers use to style their fabulous autumn porch.  With these tips your neighbors will be jealous yet prepared to embrace the leaf raking, pumpkin picking, wagon riding season.

photo cred: instagram.com @allisongoesplaces

Tip one: First off let’s just start by saying this tip tops the rest.  If you follow any of these tips this is the one to follow as it couldn’t be more on point.  There is no such thing as too many pumpkins. There are so many varieties of pumpkins ranging anywhere from your typical round, plump, orange pumpkins to your squatty pumpkins, chic white pumpkins, and even funky green pumpkins.  Ask your local pumpkin farmer about non-traditional pumpkins and where to purchase them.  Buying 10 or more real pumpkins creates a beautiful and bountiful display that will allow you to have enough pumpkin flare for your spooky Halloween porch display.  Even better, if you buy from a local farmer who can tell you which pumpkins are the freshest you may even be able to carry them over to your Thanksgiving vignette.  The trick to making pumpkins last longer this fall is to paint your pumpkins or use stickers to decorate your pumpkins as opposed to carving your pumpkins which then tend to go bad in about a week.

photo cred: remodelaholic.com

Tip two: Create a layered look by using pots, stools or even straw bales.  Anything you feel can act as a riser to display your fall decor and help the eye move easily through the design will take this look to the next level.  This will allow for everything to be seen and have its place.  The trick is to play around with it until you find it looks balanced and complete.

 

 

photo cred: potterybarn.com

Tip three: Adding soft candlelight with lanterns are a beautiful way to bring a certain elegance to your outdoor fall decor. We love them for their versatility. Extra-large lanterns, such as the ones we used, can be filled with a variety of fall items including candles, small pumpkins, or faux leaves. Grouped between pumpkins and fall foliage, the lanterns are a perfect fit.

Safety Tip: If you choose to place candles inside your lantern, opt for flameless or LED candles. It is unsafe to leave a burning candle on your front porch unattended.

photo cred: homestoriesatoz.com

Tip four: Incorporating fall blooms is a must!  When you think of using blooms for your porch decor you tend to think along the lines of spring decor with all the bright blooms of the season.  Don’t forget about those fall blooms with all those rich colors and texture.  Using some mums can really bring in that element of autumn.  My favorite color pairing is green and white pumpkins with deep purple and white mums.

photo cred: diyshowoff.com

Tip five: If you only have time to add a DIY wreath to your front door this fall, embrace the fact that it’s going to be the star, and don’t feel shy about using bold colors. I’m always a fan of the classic gold, red, and copper color scheme.  Your local craft store can supply you with most of the items needed to make your wreath.  Using faux flowers and such is a great way to save money allowing you to use this wreath for more than one season.

photo cred: handywizardgal.info

Tip six: Plant in style with a planter that makes as much of a statement as the plant growing in it! Flank your front door with this stylish piece. For the fall season, fill it with layers of long grass and flowers at the base. These one-of-a-kind planters are the perfect fall front porch decor item that seamlessly transitions into winter decor.

 

Let’s Party Back to School Style

My sweet kiddos (including puppy dog) and hubby the morning school started…all smiles. My son can never look at the camera, I am doing good to get 2 out of 3 smiling with eyes on the camera.

Hooray!!  I made it through summer and I am still alive (how alive is debatable).  My kids started school yesterday and I believe they were excited to go!!  Sure there were first day jitters and worries of who will be in my class but as a whole, I believe they were pumped for the new school year.  I would like to take all the credit for that… haha, maybe not all the credit but some credit is due.  Why is this you ask?  Well, I believe it is because I have an awesome party every year the day before school starts that gets them jazzed and excited for the school year to begin.  It is something we all look forward to, just a little something to take care of the nervous nellies.  It also sets the mood for the beginning of the year entering the new grade with optimism and enthusiasm.  Having the day before school starts party helps them to set up for a great first day (and honestly first morning as there are no tears or complaints).  To sum it all up it makes the first-day run smooth as they are prepped and ready thanks to my party!!  Let me share with you the rundown of my party so that you can start a new tradition by throwing your own day before school starts party.  You will find this simple act will help your kids prepare themselves for their first day.

Photo cred: recreoviral.com

First off I ask each kid what they would like for dinner.  This is special because they pick anything I can cook for their “last meal” of summer.  They never really get this choice so it is fun and special for them to choose.  Yes, this means I may be making three different meals but I feel that for one day out of the year I can make that happen (but only one day).

Photo cred: Adventuresofadiymom.blogspot.com

 

I also plan a fun and school-related dessert.  This year we had homemade apple pie with vanilla ice cream.  Another fun and easier option would be sliced apples with warm caramel.  So many sweet tooth options!!

We play some fun “school themed” games to get us in the mood.  I found these amazing ideas on Pinterest (where else?).  All of the games work pretty well for all three of my kid’s age range (4-9) except for the word search.  My older two really like the word search (it is more challenging) so I just have to help my little play by showing her what to circle and she follows along feeling as though she were a big kid.  Everything else they can all play together keeping in school theme and loving every minute.  I usually buy a big bag of skittles to use as bingo markers and prizes for winning but the real reason I use skittles is because of this game…

scholastic.com

This is probably my favorite game to play.  I love to relate the questions in round one to those of summer past.  In round two I like to relate the questions to more of what they hope for and/or fear for in the new school year.  This allows for closure of summer and an open conversation of what lies ahead in the new school year.  We are able to talk through everything as a family while eating yummy skittles which if I am being honest helps in any situation.  You can really use this idea to create any questions or riddles to your desire or your kid’s needs.  This game is truly amazing as I learned some things about my daughter I never really knew before and not sure if she would have shared if it weren’t for the delicious skittles to provoke her.

 

Well, there you have it, my simple day before school starts party.  Super simple (maybe not super simple as I made three dinners) and fun way to get your kids on board with the new school year ahead.  Can you share any ideas that you and your family use to prepare your sweet kiddos for school?  If so let me know as I am always looking for new ways to switch up our party a bit.

Have a Terrific Tuesday everyone.

XOXO

Jen

Total Tree-house Thursday

Hey hey!! Happy Thursday everyone!!  I just wanted to share with you how fun our rooftop tree-house turned out.  We have had so much fun playing in our tree sanctuary that we don’t ever want to leave.  It was about 100 degrees this week in Boise and we didn’t even notice because of the amazing shade and breeze our tree provides.  Now, I can’t take credit for the build-out of the structure… that award goes to my husband but the layout and design are all my doing (with amazing ideas from my kids).  First off, let me just say how helpful this treehouse has been for us staying off-screens this summer!  It has been fun watching the kids playing card/board games or coloring in the treehouse because this is way cooler than doing it on the patio or indoors.  Sometimes they will even eat and FINISH their dinner on the rooftop. Honestly, I am starting to think this rooftop treehouse is magical.   Placing a snack corner loaded with healthy snacks is a must, along with a few activities and my kids will disappear for hours.  Sometimes I forget I even have kids (ok not really).  Bottom line is while this treehouse endeavor has been a big undertaking for my husband physically as well as a hit to our wallets, I couldn’t be happier with the decision to go forward with this project.  Best of all this project isn’t even finished, and when the last screw is screwed it might just be the most epic treehouse ever created.  I will walk you through our rooftop treehouse including a fun gadget pully system totally created on the whim by my amazing husband, who can think out of the box and work with nothing to make everything.  When we have toured the rooftop I will explain as best I can what the plans are for the first floor to be completed late fall or early spring (depending on the hubs work schedule).  Shall we get started…

Here are my munchkins having fun coloring and playing, it was so hot this day but we never even noticed due to the shade and breeze created by being up in the tree!!

The snack corner was a huge hit!!  My kids are always asking for a snack, (seriously they ask for snacks every 10 minutes, is this normal?) when I offer up veggies or fruit they reluctantly accept.  But I am telling you guys this treehouse is magic because when they are up there they will eat whatever I put in the bowl without one complaint.  I placed an outdoor-friendly teak bowl on a metal side table that can endure the outdoor elements.  It was as easy as that to create and works like a charm.  I also want to point out the black and white flags strung on black yarn that my kids and I made together.  We cut triangles out of fabric, the best part is they are all mismatched in shape and layout, (that’s what you get with kids but that is the vibe I wanted) then we used a hole punch to punch holes into the fabric to string our black yarn through.  Next, we hung our flags along the banister of our rooftop treehouse.  It was a great way to use up some scrap fabric and bring in a little style to our space.

I also wanted to point out the black and white color scheme I chose for this rooftop space.  I went with black and white as this is a gender-neutral color scheme (I also happen to have so many black and white items on hand to use, if you can’t tell, black and white is my jam).  So keeping in theme this rug that is roughly a 3×5 was perfect for this space.  The rug has a rubber backing that allows it to stay put, which is important for a rooftop space.  Now this rug wasn’t made for outdoor use, however, it is made from a synthetic polyester that will wick away moisture.  The rug also spends all day shaded so shouldn’t fade at a rapid rate.  I will one day replace this rug with an outdoor rug, but for now, this rug works as I had it on hand, used from our entryway, where it took a beating.  Winters and springs are wet here in the northwest and the rug spent many days underneath wet snow/rain boots and held up superbly.  This table I found at a thrift store last year for only $8, I didn’t know why I needed it but I thought for $8 I just did.  I hoarded it for a while and this summer I found the perfect use for it.  Again, with the amount of cover and shade provided by the tree as well as the finish on this table, it works well for this space until the weather changes.  In the winter season, I usually store patio furniture and outdoor objects in our garage to preserve the life of said object, most things on the rooftop will be stored alongside my patio furniture.

Now for the highlight of this treehouse… the pulley system created from a training wheel and paint can lids.  Seriously, I don’t know how my husband can come up with these ideas but when he does they blow me away.

With the actual wheel part of the training wheel used as the turning cylinder, and two paint can lids (screwed together and secured to the training wheel arm) used on each side of the wheel to guide and keep the rope in place, we placed a durable rope looped around the wheel twice.  Screwing and bolting the arm of the training wheel to the banister secures this pulley system.  Tieing the other end of the rope to a bucket with a handle, making sure the bucket is somewhat strong enough to pull up all sorts of random objects.  The kids love to pull things up using this pulley system and it is honestly the best part of this treehouse.  They put anything and everything in the bucket to be pulled up, sometimes not even needing to but finding a reason to use it is the best part of the day.

This is my daughter pulling up some cool beverages for the day.  Look at that smile, it says it all!!

So not only did my husband create the pulley and build the structure, he also built this cute bench.  It is the perfect size for the little’s and is really quite ergonomically comfy!!  It was mostly built out of 2×4’s and love, really what else do you need??  I made a bench pad for added comfort, using foam from the craft store as well as outdoor fabric in black canvas.  Tip: if you head to your local craft store now you will find most outdoor fabrics up to 60% off!!  The lumbar pillow, however, is not made out of outdoor fabric and will come indoors as soon as the weather shifts.  I just thought the bench needed a little touch of style and this pillow matched the colors splendidly!!

Just to give you some perspective as to how high our rooftop is and what it is like to be “in the trees” I added this photo.  When you are on the rooftop you really do feel like you are sitting up in the trees (how perfect since we live in the city of trees).  Now the kicker here is, there is an awesome platform from the rooftop to then climb up into the tree further if desired.  As a mother, it terrifies me but as a kid at heart, I am dying to try it.  The tree is perfect for climbing as it has strong limbs that are perfectly spaced.   It was always just so hard to get to the limbs as they were so far up from the ground before the treehouse was built.  Now with the perfect step stool a.k.a. the rooftop treehouse it is totally achievable.  Fingers crossed we don’t become a regular at the local urgent care.

Now let’s talk about finishing this project.  I will describe my vision for the first floor and as always I welcome any feedback or opinions.  So for the first floor, I am thinking we will finish off at least three walls leaving one open so to speak.  By open, I mean possibly using a lattice wall or something similar so that the first floor can “breathe”.  Having built-in treehouse structures before, by finishing all four walls, I have come to learn that by doing so its basically a sauna in the summer months!  By leaving the west-facing wall open, using a lattice wall on the first floor, which will allow airflow, results in the structure not baking in the sun.  With the sun setting in the west and our two-story house being on the west side of the structure, our house provides shade to the “open” wall. Hence the reason of the lattice wall being on the west side, if I flipped the lattice wall to the east side it would get full morning sun.  The other three walls will be finished in 2×4’s placed horizontally.  They will be stained the same brown as the rest of the stained brown throughout the structure.  I am thinking the lattice wall will either be painted white like the banisters or possibly black, I haven’t fully decided yet.  Now the front of the first floor, the north wall, will be enclosed with horizontal 2×4’s.  Once enclosed, I would like to create a circular door that will be a rotating swing open door, cutting out from the finished wall.  I also would like to create a circular window alongside the circular door that will rotate swing open as well.  When the door and window are closed they are flush with the remaining north wall.  I want to paint the circular door and window white to match the banisters up top balancing the wood tones with the white tones.  From there, creating a small porch deck extending from the north-facing wall by about 3-4 feet, enough room to place planted pots and small Adirondack chairs ( my husband will also build these, tutorial on this when we get there).  Inside the first floor, I want the east wall to house bunk beds, obviously on the miniature side, not expecting the kids to actually sleep out there, just to imagine and play.  I would also like to create a counter of sorts with cupboards underneath for storage, this would have to be placed on the west wall, as this would be the only wall left with enough space.  So the lattice wall will actually be only half-open lattice and half counter/cupboard.  Hard to envision, but I promise I do see this and when it all comes together I promise you it will be amazing!!  Can’t wait to show you!!

Happy Thursday everyone….hope it is a terrific day!

XOXO,

Jen

 

 

 

 

 

How to Style your Mantle like a Pro

 

photo cred: decorilla.com

Hey everyone!! How is summer going?  I ask this because summer is seriously going… going… gone.  I feel this for many reasons, one being the sun looks different in the sky.  I always notice this in August, which is the ultimate start to a long farewell.  Honestly, once you start to notice how different the sun looks during the day and how much time you are loosing in daylight, you too will feel autumn approaching.  Another reason I know the summer has come to an end is the start of school…YIPEE!!!   Fall is one of my favorite seasons which is why I feel it needs its own decor all together.  Bringing in more earth tones in deep honey, chocolate and caramels is a must!!  So long summer decor and hello autumn.  Which brings me to the reason for my post, styling, and updating your mantle for the fall season which is just the start to a long run with holiday decor.  I always like to kick off the holiday decor season with a little fall display followed by Halloween, Thanksgiving and then Christmas.  And it doesn’t just stop there…then you have Valentines, St. Patricks Day, and Easter.  After Easter, I am so burnt out that I style spring/summer decor and don’t think of it again till I can smell fall in the air once again.  When I then feel ready to style something different and fresh.  So prep yourself and get ready to welcome all the seasons, starting with a few guidelines on one of America’s favorite holiday decor canvases, your fireplace mantle.  That’s right, the fireplace mantle.  Think about it, when you prepare for any holiday, say Christmas, you always think of the fireplace mantle first.  So let’s have a quick run-through of some style rules (I like to call them guidelines) to help us train for a long season of changing out all the beautiful things.

photo cred: David Tsay @ EHD

So long summer decor, let’s tuck you into your long winter’s nap and I’ll see you on the other side.  I may or may not have this conversation in my head… (channeling my inner Marie Kondo).  First, let’s start with clearing the mantle and prepping it for a new style.  I always enjoy switching things up before they get too stagnant. What a perfect time to do so with the change of the season.  I like to prep the mantle with a light dusting and cobweb clearing as my mantle has been neglected all summer.  Then I visualize what I want the outcome to be using my special recipe.  That special top-secret recipe that all the stylists use… ok, maybe not that top secret.  The first step in this recipe is to find an ingredient that is vertical or tall.  Something tall placed off to the side or sides of the mantle as pictured above.  The candlesticks and stacked books with the seal-like sculpture, (not sure what that sculpture really is but I totally dig it) create height in this example.  The second step is to find a horizontal/short ingredient.  Something that elongates your design such as the books on the end laying vertical or the sculptural like tray with a brass handle.  This helps to balance out the height, balance is the goal we are going for here so you may need to play with it a bit to find just the right piece.  That’s half the fun of it though (at least for me) finding the right piece to the puzzle and having fun along the way.

photo cred: studiomcgee.com

The next ingredient needed would be something shiny, in the example above it would be the mirror.  Now, you don’t have to use a mirror but something with visual texture in the realm of shiny would be just the piece.

photo cred: EHD

In this example above, something shiny could be either the visually interesting vase (the ceramic texture of the vase reflects light feeling shiny) or the beautiful sconce which of coarse produces light that is…SHINY.  While I love a mirror as much as the next person, I like to think a little different and be/do differently.  In my opinion, we don’t use enough sconces on the mantle anymore and I for one would love to see this trend reemerge.  All in all, this would be a wonderful alternative for your “shiny” piece.

photo cred: overstock.com

In the world of balance, what would the opposite of shiny be?  You guessed it, dull.  The fourth ingredient… something dull.  In the example above a black and white photo can really bring balance to your mantle.  Honestly, the element of the wood mantle is dull enough to bring in that ingredient all by itself but the black and white photos finished it off nicely.  Another good alternative to the black and white photos are some neutral colored books stacked in an interesting way.  The options are endless it is just up to the eye of the designer.  That is really all this is after all.  What you feel is the correct balance and what you like because, in the end, this is your home and your mantle.

photo cred: article.com

The last and most important ingredient, (at least in my opinion) would be the natural ingredient, the organic ingredient.  You will notice in all my examples pictured above, they all have some element of nature, a plant or beautiful twigs placed in a vase, etc.  If you know me you will know a design that truly feels fulfilled has an element of the outdoors.  Bringing a piece of nature into your indoor space always feels grounded and fresh.  Reminding you of the beauty of nature.

Just some more examples of some beautifully designed mantles.  I hope this post can help with any decor challenges you face in this upcoming season. When dealing with holiday decor, be conscious of the ingredients for a general guideline and place them where needed.  For example, something shiny for a Christmas mantle may be a shiny bell or an organic piece for Halloween can be some leafless twigs or jack-o-lanterns.  Another example of something for a Thanksgiving mantle using a verticle ingredient may be to use a cornucopia incorporating an organic ingredient with items used inside the cornucopia. Please share your mantles with me as nothing brings me more joy than to see someone styling and jamming to their own design.  I am addicted to design and would love you to supply me more of what I crave…beautifully styled spaces.

Happy tasteful Tuesday!

Best,

Jen

You Should Totally Paint Your…

 

photo cred: Studio McGee

What can you do with one gallon of paint that will totally change a room…baseboards!!!  That’s right baseboards, take a look at the picture above, and think how it would look if the baseboards were all white and flowed seamlessly with the walls.  It definitely wouldn’t look bad or would be wrong, but look at how it transforms the room to just add a splash of color to the trim and baseboards.  It is a trend we are seeing a lot of right now and I couldn’t be happier about it.  The amount of time and paint you have to put into this project is extremely minimal yet so impactful.  Now I am totally a white wall kinda gal but painting the baseboards with or without the trim and crown molding is a great way to add color and interest to a room of white walls.  Maybe that is why we are seeing so much of this right now….most of us all love a white wall but may be ready to have some fun with color.  Not to mention the fresh coat of paint to your baseboards, trim and molding will really freshen up the parts of your home that tend to take a beating.  I promise you all, with this simple project, you will feel in awe of what you created in no time at all.  So get ready for your next weekend update (ok that’s an SNL skit but you get the idea).

Now in my opinion (so take it for what it’s worth), this is the way to paint your baseboards unless you have a maid on duty 24/7.  A shade of white or beige hues with grey to green undertones is the best hue possible for your baseboards assuming you have a light-colored wall, (if you have darker walls try a trim in the same hue of your wall but slightly lighter or darker than your wall).  Why is this you ask?  Well, the first reason is that I predict the colors of 2020 will be more earth tones than anything, we will be seeing a lot of natural colors in warm beiges to caramel.  So to keep with the trends I recommend a natural hue like the ones pictured above.  The second reason is to cut down on the sight of dust and dirt.  A white baseboard, trim and molding can appear dirty with minimal dust and dirt.  A darker baseboard will also appear dirty sooner than later with dust and if you have an animal in the house, (it will be dirty as soon as you finish dusting).  So for a minimal chore and dusting effort (who has the time), this is why I recommend a lighter off white hue.  The third and final reason for a lighter baseboard hue would be for the longevity of this trend.  Who wants to paint baseboards every year when new trends sprout?? Not I!  Painting a lighter hue will ensure that you can easily decorate around this design.  Remember the 90’s when everyone had a red wall that shouted at you?  I do (my parent’s dining room is a ragging red), and those red walls are really hard to bring into the next decade of trends.  The lighter hue can go with almost any decor of your choosing.  Win-Win with fewer chores on the to-do list as well as taking your space into the next trend seamlessly.

Now if you are feeling bold and sassy with a tendency to try every trend, try this one for sure!!  Painting trim, baseboards, and molding as well as doors a darker hue is definitely eye-catching and soooo on-trend right now.  I love this look but personally can’t bring myself to commit to these darker colors for a long period of time.  I also don’t want to dust them on the regular, as we have animals that shed at my abode.  Like I said if you have a maid on call and a desire to really pop a room then this style is for you.  We are seeing a lot of black hues as well as some darker blue to grey hues.  In the first picture above you can see the trim and doors as well as the crown molding painted grey with blue undertones, this looks phenomenal with the light flooring and walls.  In the third picture above you can see the black trim, baseboards, and doors painted black and paired with darker flooring which is still very striking.  So the take away is this, the look can really go with just about anyone’s current taste.  It is just a way to mix it up, update a room with a whole new look, and do so with a low budget.

If you happen to update your room with this paint trick please share as I always love a good before and after.  With this before and after however, it is amazing how different the room can look with such a simple paint trick.

Have an amazing Tuesday everyone!!

Best,
Jen

Colors to watch for in 2020

Photo cred: PPG Paints

In light of my last post on color, let’s keep the ball rolling.  Let’s talk about some of the colors that will be trending in 2020.  While a few major paint lines have released their 2020 color palettes and named their top pick for color of the year, some (Pantone) have yet to tell us their top pick.  If you like to be ahead of the game to see what will be trending next year, there a few ways to predict what color story 2020 has in store for us.  First, let’s start off by what we do know for certain.  In my last post “Did You Know  Color is a Mood?” we talked about colors telling a story or having a “mood” so to speak.  Looking at what is going on around the world as a whole and summing up its story can really lend us a headstart on any fashion and design trend.  What we are seeing now are very chaotic times, busy times, people in general feeling overwhelmed and wanting to minimize and simplify as much of their lives as possible.  For example, we are seeing many trends in design with furniture pieces being multifunctional.  Making the piece of furniture a simple, functional and useable piece.  Take the picture below of the chair with the built-in table.  It has more than one function allowing you to sit and relax while having a place to set your book or beverage all in one.  No need for a separate chair and table.  SIMPLE. EASY. FUNCTIONAL.

Photo cred: UNIQFIND

So being in that mindset of simplifying your life, think what else and how else that can be achieved through color.  To simplify your life and calm the chaos you would start to think of calming factors.  Such as colors that can calm or ground a person.  That being said those are the colors we will be seeing a lot of this next year, 2020.  Earth tones can definitely ground a person, helping them feel more connected to the outside world and nature.  Bringing those elements inside their living spaces can really clear the clutter and keep you connected to the earth quite literally.  Behr paints is very much in this mindset which was obvious when they released their 2020 color story palette last June. There are three themed “stories”—Worldhood, Restore, and Atmospheric— that each contains five colors, all of which were inspired “from the desire to engage with the world around us and restore balance in our everyday lives,” according to a press release.  We are really seeing some earth tones in this Worldhood story:

Keeping with earth tones and mixing in some calming hues is something trending for 2020.  With so much noise out in the world (especially politically) we as a society are needing calm in our homes more than ever. This color story for 2020 is labeled Restore.  Restore has a calming color mix meant to motivate balance. Blues and greens make up the natural-feeling theme that ties back to the outdoors, “creating a soothing sanctuary” that is ideal for the environments that need them.

 

Moving onto Behrs third color story Atmospheric: a color combination that complements both modern and traditional environments through subtle pastels and neutrals. This results in a “dynamic yet deliberate color story appeal.”  Behr is really creating the color stories for every walk of life bringing focus to health and wellness.  I am 100% sold if this means color bringing balance and a healthy wellness into our lives!!

 

PPG Paints has announced their color pick for 2020 and I am loving this jewel-tone Chinese Porcelain.  This shade of blue can instill calmness as well as reduce anxiety and encourage sleep.  HELLO, Chinese Porcelain… I was sold at jewel-tone!!

One last thing I wanted to share with you; my design tip: getting the best of both worlds.  Designing with some top trending colors creating a complementary color palette, that has all the calm earth tones you can ask for!  Remember from my last post on the recap of color theory, complementary colors are those that are opposite of each other on the color wheel.  Well, lucky for us blue is opposite orange, therefore creating an eye-catching design.

Photo cred: PPG Paints

Using the color Chines Porcelain for you calming accent wall right next to your calm space in the room.  Turning to an accent piece or accent wall (in this loft pictured above) using the colors from Behr color story Worldhood; Rumba Orange.  Then speckling in some earth tones of Creamy Mushroom and Painters White from Behr, finding these colors in textiles such as some linens, curtains, and throws, all being very complimentary of each other.   Creating the perfect on-trend color palette, I for one am excited to see what more paint brands have in store for us in 2020.  Already such a great way to start a new decade with eye-pleasing colors.

Hope everyone is having a fabulous day!  Love and Cheers!

Best,

Jen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Did you know color is a mood?

C

photo cred: ninetyfourdesigns.com

Can color really be a mood?  Yes, it can and once you understand the mood and feel of color you can better understand color theory.  That is color theory for design.  I am going to give you a few tips from the trade to better equip you to choose color when designing your home.  Designing your home can be a very fun and exciting thing to do, but sometimes it can be really stressful.  So let me take the guesswork out, and help you to make the design process fun and easy by giving you the knowledge and confidence to accomplish such a visual task.  So first, let’s start with mood.  If you follow me on Pinterest, (@cottonandchaos) you will see I have a board full of pins labeled “moody colors to own in 2019”.  While it is a zippy name to use it is also 100% true…colors are very moody!  What do I mean, well colors can portray a mood and once you figure out what mood and vibe you are looking to express, the rest is really easy.  So ask yourself do you want your room (in this case lets say bedroom) to be relaxing or energetic?  Most likely, because we are talking about a bedroom where one rests, I am going to say you would choose relaxing…right?!  Well, let’s think of some words that mean the same as relaxing; calm, quiet, and soothing, these are all terms that describe “cool” tones when speaking of color.  What are cool tones?  Well think of the color wheel (go back to kindergarten) and remember the three primary hues along with the three secondary hues.  We have red, blue, and yellow as primary hues and green, orange and violet as secondary hues.  So thinking of cool tones think of something “cold”…ice cubes in water, the cool blue-green lake in the mountains, and you will find the answer.  Cool tones are blue, green and violet, however, violet can be a tricky hue as it is made with blue and red, so looking for a violet on the cool side would mean looking for a violet with more blue than red.  Now think of the red hue, red is strong and energetic, like a fire burning, it is considered a warm hue.  Red isn’t a hue that gives off a soothing vibe so this would be a hue to navigate away from when looking for a relaxing mood.  So to better emphasize what I mean, I have some eye candy to check out:

Look at the pictures above, these pictures all display a cool color scheme using cool-toned hues.  Everything in the first picture from the blue velvet round ottoman, the black-grey painting above the sofa and even the bright blue-white of the couch are all cool-toned.  The second picture displays a color scheme with about 90% cool-toned hues.  The cool grey walls along with a cool grey rug pair nicely with the cool blue-green sofa.  The sculpture above the sofa displays cool browns with a cool white pearl-like center.  The gold table and lining of the sofa do show some warm tones in a yellow-gold hue but for the most part, this room is a cool color scheme.  The third picture is on par with the second picture with a 90% cool-tone scheme and a meer 10% warm-toned scheme.  Everything from the cool white rug, cool brown flooring, cool grey sofa matched with the cool green-blue accent chairs.  Topped off with cool white walls and a painting with cool-toned hues of green, blue and black.  The warm tones are coming from the natural wood in the coffee table that shows some warm yellow undertones alike with the stem arrangement resting atop the table.  Starting to get it? Great, let’s move on to some warm-toned hues.

 

Here we have warm-toned color schemes pictured above.  In the first picture, we have what seems to be a neutral color palette but look again.  This is a warm-toned palette because the white hue in this room actually has some warm yellow undertones which lend its hand to the warm wood flooring as well as the warm animal rug and warm-toned chair in the corner.  The first picture is 100% warm-toned.  Now look closer at the second picture above.  While 90% is a warm-toned palette there is a small percentage of cool tones in this living room.  Everything except the cool grey cushions on this platform sofa is warm-toned.  The third picture is again a warm-toned color scheme with most everything pictured having a yellow undertone.  The actual plants are the only “cool” color of green.  So now that you can see the difference between cool and warm color tones let’s look a little further into what they express.

Cool tones tend to express more relaxing and comforting vibes, a place for rest and calm.  Warm tones tend to be more energetic and vibrant keeping you awake and focused.  So ask yourself what kind of mood you want to express.  If this is still a hard question to answer, consider your climate.  If you live in a hot place, say, the coast in Florida, you will most likely choose a “cooler” color scheme as this will balance out your inner and outer environments.   Likewise, if you live in the cold mountains of Montana, you might choose a warm color palette to equal the balance in your environment.  This is why you see the coastal themed rooms on your Pinterest account in blues and blue-whites, too cool off the people that are drawn to this vibe.  Ski resorts tend to be designed with warm hues and accents to literally warm their guests up visually.

Okay, just in case you are still struggling with the concept of what mood do I want to portray, let me ask you one more question.  An old rule of thumb used by designers would be to figure if the room you are designing is north or south-facing room.  Why?  Well, north rooms get a softer morning light with more blue undertones, so if you felt that your north-facing room needed more warmth you would decorate with warm-toned hues.  Vice-versa with a south-facing room.  South-facing rooms tend to get the afternoon/evening light which leans more toward your typical warm undertones, so in order to cool off, you will want to use a cool-toned color palette.  By now I am more than confident that you can answer what kind of mood you will want to portray in any room you desire.

 

One more tip for creating a cool or warm-toned room that is inviting and allows the eye to move through your room with interest and ease; using complementary colors in an almost equal or a little less than equal percentage to each other.  Again, lets head back to kindergarten, remember the color wheel.  Compliementary colors are the hues that are opposite eachother on the color wheel.  Don’t remember the color wheel, simply google it, (I google everything).  Let’s explore this concept:

Let’s take a look at photo 1- The blue-hued cushions mixed with the cool-toned rug and painting hues are at a very pleasing 30% to 60% with the room being primarily warm-toned.  Photo 2 – is a perfectly balanced 50/50 with the cabinets being cool-toned and the bar stools being warm-toned, all balancing out nicely.  Photo 3 – This photo is more cool-toned than warm-toned, but still displaying an interesting balance between the two.  The warm tones of the wood stool and wood-based accent chair really compliment all the cool-toned shades everywhere else throughout this room.  Photo 4 – This photo is really quite fun as it is hard at first to dissect this room into a cool or warm-toned palette which leads me to believe that it is at a perfect balance.  The cool blue-toned wall mixes well the cool-toned painting above the sofa.  The sofa is green (which typically means cool-toned) but leans more to the warm side of green with some yellow undertones.  The cool white table with cool blue vases balance the warm-toned leather accent chairs.  VERY nicely done.  Photo 5 – A cool-toned room at large except for the warm blush/burgundy tones of the pillows and wood stool pairing nicely with the warm candlelight behind the sofa.  Another pleasing balance between warm and cool tones.  Photo 6 – This last photo is yet once again a perfect balance.  A perfect mixture of warm accents, such as the mustard pillows, warm-toned light fixture, plant stand and table pieces resting atop the coffee table complement the cool tones throughout the rest of the room.

With all the design eye candy listed here today, what is your favorite?  Do you prefer a tonal room with a solid cool or warm-toned scheme?  Or, do you find yourself pulled to a more complementary style with a perfect or somewhat perfect balance of complementary colors?  Knowing what you like will help you to determine your color scheme and mood.  Once you have decided on the mood you want to portray, you may then move forward in the design process with ease and confidence.

Pop Quiz:

Which Picture has a cool-toned color palette?

 

Which photo displays a warm-toned color palette?

This article is something I wish I would have had at my disposal years ago as this would have made all my design endeavors much easier.  Instead, I guessed my way through many projects hoping, in the end, it would feel “right”.  Many turned out great and many did not.  This would have made my design process so much smoother had I known how simple the break down is.  I hope this helps you in any design adventure you are undertaking.

Have a great Sunday and start to the week ahead.

Best,

Jen